Preparing for Growth

By Marianne Downing

In recent times, we have had conversations with nonprofit organizations that have reached a critical stage in their life cycle. They have begun to grow very quickly financially and in their services and they have been uncertain how to sustain that progress. What needs to be in place to both promote and sustain growth? Some of this information is not so obvious. For example, it may seem logical to diversify funding sources to make us less dependent on one source. However, a fascinating study published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review found that the very largest of nonprofits were able to grow because they focused their fundraising on one fundraising stream. Read more

The Stanford Social Innovation team undertook even more research in 2016 that found that the keys to growth included a strong team of leaders around the CEO/Executive Director, a focus on outcome evaluation and having access to capital to underpin growth. Read more

To attract this kind of hardworking, competent team at both the board and management level, Peggy Jackson in her book, “Nonprofit Strategic Planning: Leveraging Sarbanes-Oxley Best Practices,” added:

“If you ever want to attract competent, hardworking staff and board members, you have to prove that your nonprofit is solid. Creative, competent, hardworking people do not have the time or inclination to deal with mediocrity.”“… If your nonprofit starts with a good organizational and governance infrastructure and good internal controls, these will grow with your nonprofit and will sustain it during bad times, good times and prosperous times…

“…You need to show the current and potential funders, such as major donors, foundations, corporations, and public entities that your nonprofit might be small, but it is mighty! Before your nonprofit can become larger, it must learn to be comfortable with the idea of being a larger and more successful nonprofit.” (“Nonprofit Strategic Planning: Leveraging Sarbanes-Oxley Best Practices.” Peggy M. Jackson, John Wiley & Sons, 2007. P.16)

Is your organization prepared for growth? Pathway Associates has the expertise to assist nonprofits in all the key aspects of growing into a mighty organization. Contact us for an assessment of your needs.